Trade in human tissue products

Nicholas Tonti-Filippini, Nikolajs Zeps

Research output: Contribution to journalShort SurveyOtherpeer-review

3 Citations (Scopus)


• Trade in human tissue in Australia is prohibited by state law, and in ethical guidelines by the National Health and Medical Research Council: ▶ National statement on ethical conduct in human research; ▶ Organ and tissue donation by living donors: guidelines for ethical practice for health professionals. • However, trade in human tissue products is a common practice especially for: ▶ reconstructive orthopaedic or plastic surgery; ▶ novel human tissue products such as a replacement trachea created by using human mesenchymal stem cells; ▶ biomedical research using cell lines, DNA and protein provided through biobanks. • Cost pressures on these have forced consideration of commercial models to sustain their operations. Both the existing and novel activities require a robust framework to enable commercial uses of human tissue products while maintaining community acceptability of such practices, but to date no such framework exists. • In this article, we propose a model ethical framework for ethical governance which identifies specific ethical issues such as: ▶ privacy; ▶ unique value of a person's tissue; ▶ commodification of the body; ▶ equity and benefit to the community; ▶ perverse incentives; and ▶ "attenuation" as a potentially useful concept to help deal with the broad range of subjective views relevant to whether it is acceptable to commercialise certain human tissue products.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)263-265
Number of pages3
JournalThe Medical Journal of Australia
Issue number5
Publication statusPublished - 7 Mar 2011
Externally publishedYes

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